September 17, 2013 - 4:55 PM
VANCOUVER - Significant headway has been made in meeting the B.C. government's economic goals as laid out in The BC Jobs Plan 24-Month Progress Report, released today.
"I'm tremendously proud of the progress B.C. has made over the past two years," said Premier Christy Clark. "Today, we stand on the threshold of one of the biggest economic growth cycles in our generation. From the rapid growth of our technology sector to the unprecedented opportunity presented in liquefied natural gas, we are already achieving great things together. But we have much more to do. Through the BC Jobs Plan, our government will continue to seek new ways to grow our economy and support job creation."
Launched in September 2011, the plan focuses on B.C.'s unique competitive advantages and identifies a series of targets and government actions that help drive new investment and job opportunity. The BC Jobs Plan prioritizes eight key growth sectors identified as having the biggest potential for contributing to job creation throughout the province. These are: natural gas, technology, mining, forestry, agrifoods, international education, transportation and tourism.
Since the 18-Month Report, considerable progress has been made toward key BC Jobs Plan commitments and targets, including:
* Four additional companies have applied to the National Energy Board for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export licences, bringing the total to seven (three export licences already have been issued).
* Construction has begun on the Road, Rail and Utility Corridor at Ridley Terminal in Prince Rupert.
* China Eastern Airlines started a new direct flight to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in July.
* Further reductions have been made in turnaround time for Mining Notice of Work applications - from 79 days in March 2013 to 63 days today.
In addition, some completed actions have progressed beyond their original targets:
* The Major Investments Office (MIO) has successfully aided in the progress of 14 major projects, with an additional 17 projects currently under consideration. In total, the MIO's project portfolio represents approximately $35 billion in prospective investment, as well as 29,000 jobs.
* New direct international flights - the target was for two new flights to Vancouver International Airport by 2013. That target was met within one year. Additionally, China Eastern Airlines expanded their service in July.
* Overseas trade representation - the target was to double the number of trade and investment representatives (TIRs) on the ground in key international markets. That target has been exceeded with the total number increasing to 62 TIRs from 29.
* Non-treaty agreements - the target was 10 agreements with First Nations. Currently, there are 21 agreements and a goal of achieving an additional seven.
Of the 19 targets originally set in the BC Jobs Plan, 11 have been achieved on time or ahead of schedule. The remaining eight are on track for their timed completion deadlines of between 2014 and 2020.
In addition to detailing achievements and activities to date, The BC Jobs Plan 24-Month Progress Report also provides a glance at some of the initiatives government is considering to move our economy and the BC Jobs Plan forward. Some specific actions being taken to broaden the plan already are in the early working stages, while many more will be developed and implemented in the years ahead.
"The 24-month progress report shows that our plan is working and we're going to continue our efforts to reach all of the targets in our eight key growth sectors," said Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Minister Shirley Bond. "This report is more than an update. It also looks ahead at the additional work we need to do to advance our agenda and further grow our economy. British Columbians expect us to capitalize on the unprecedented opportunities we have and that is exactly what we intend to do."
"Thanks in part to the priorities laid out in the BC Jobs Plan 24 months ago, we live in one of the most economically secure places in the world," said Parliamentary Secretary for the BC Jobs Plan Greg Kyllo. "We must be relentless as we continue to ensure economic and job stability. While we add new initiatives for each sector, we'll also be working to attract new investment, building a skilled workforce, engaging with First Nations, as well as supporting small business and manufacturers."
Over the next year, the B.C. government will be working to update the BC Jobs Plan targets and commitments as part of keeping the plan
aligned with our dynamic economy. The next update to British Columbians on progress will be presented in September 2014.
To view The BC Jobs Plan 24-Month Progress Report, please visit: www.bcjobsplan.ca
For information on connecting with skills training and job opportunities in B.C., please visit: www.workbc.ca
Highlights from The BC Jobs Plan 24-Month Progress Report
The BC Jobs Plan 24-Month Progress Report updates British Columbians on government's work to strengthen B.C.'s economy through the 19 targets and 61 actions set out in the plan. For a full description of accomplishments please see the 24-month report.
Highlights of progress since the BC Jobs Plan launch:
* B.C.'s LNG industry is quickly taking shape - seven LNG proponents have applied for export licences, three of which already have been issued. Since the BC Jobs Plan promised to pursue this opportunity, a variety of LNG proposals are under development, potentially representing the largest ever private-sector investment in British Columbia.
* The Province is continuing to hold the line on regulations, once again meeting the target of net-zero new regulation for 2012 and earning an 'A' rating from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business two years in a row for progress in reducing the regulatory burden on individuals and businesses (the only 'A' awarded to any jurisdiction in both years).
* According to Statistics Canada, B.C. generated 44,900 jobs between August 2011 (just prior to the BC Jobs Plan launch) and August 2013. That puts B.C. third in the country for job growth - up from the fourth-place ranking reported in the 18-month update.
* Two new mines have opened, five more are under construction or have been permitted, and six existing mines have announced expansions.
* Since August 2011, the backlog for mining permits has been reduced by 80 per cent, the backlog for Water and Land Act permits has been reduced by 50 per cent, and turnaround times for these permits have been reduced from an average of 110 to 63 days.
* Since March 2012, B.C. has posted 33 new trade and investment representatives (TIRs) in key overseas markets, more than doubling the total number on the ground to 62.
* The Province has exceeded the BC Jobs Plan target of reaching 10 new non-treaty agreements with First Nations. Currently, there are 21 agreements, with a new goal of accomplishing another seven agreements.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013